Sustainable UCL


Take Climate Action with UCL in 2022

4 January 2022

With 2022 comes a new year to push climate action at UCL. Whether you’re a seasoned climate activist or resolved to take climate action for the first time this year, check out what you can do in three key areas – travel, food and recycling – and get inspired by what UCL is doing.

2022 written with sparklers against a black background


Organisational travel is the 4th largest source of carbon emissions for the university (after purchased products, energy for campus and food). With COVID-19 and travel restrictions reducing travel activity, the amount which travel has contributed to the institution’s CO2 emissions was reduced by 94% from 2018-2019 levels. However, it is important for UCL to implement strategies to maintain a low travel footprint regardless of the circumstances for travel.

What action is UCL taking on travel?

UCL has worked with its travel provider Clarity to launch a new European rail booking service for UCL students and staff. This is in support of UCL’s newly issued travel policy, stating that “Where travel is necessary, the most carbon efficient mode of transport and class of travel should be taken”, making sustainability the most important factor for choosing a mode of travel, not price.   

In addition, the Green team at UCL's Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS) department are launching the 'PALS No-Fly Zone' Initiative in 2022 - a pledge to select the most carbon-efficient way of reaching your destination that other departments can join. This initiative is specifically for mainland UK and nearby Eurostar destinations (Paris, Belgium and Amsterdam).

What can you do?
  • Check out rail travel options via UCL’s Clarity portal when you plan your next journey
  • Become a cyclist this year! Come join us at our next ‘Bike Bonanza’ event on March 25th to purchase a second-hand bike, or repair and security tag your bike for free. Until then, see our cycling resources


At UCL, we want to provide a healthy food offer that’s good for our staff, students and the planet; whether it’s in our catered accommodation, our campus cafes, bars and restaurants or at our events. We have been working closely with UCL caterers CH&Co to drive food-related climate action.

What action is UCL taking on food?

Sustainable UCL have worked closely with CH&CO to:

  • Implement CLUBZERO: a returnable, reusable cup scheme that helps reduce UCL's number of disposable wate items such as coffee cups and lids.
  • Offer vegetarian & vegan food as the standard whilst being disposable free. This is a great step to reducing the carbon and waste footprints of catering at UCL.
  • Start carbon labelling our dishes educating and allowing students and staff to make choices based on a dish’s impact on the environment.
What can you do?

Download the CLUBZERO app and use it when you are back and fine dining on campus this year. CH&Co. will be running fun promotions, so keep your eyes peeled!

Follow the QR code to download the app! 

Black and White QR code for downloading Club Zero


UCL’s ‘The Loop’ campaign aims to tackle unsustainable consumption by redesigning the way we use materials, specifying the best products for people & planet and improving the rates of recycling on campus. By 2024, we aim to increase our recycling rate to 85% and decrease waste per person by 20%. This will be achieved by consuming less by reducing, reusing, repairing and sharing; by removing single use plastics on campus by 2024; and maximising the value from our waste products.

What action is UCL taking on recycling?

This year the waste reduction rate per person was 84.78%, largely due to a lower level of activity on campus. To increase recycling rates and maintain low waste per person, Sustainable UCL have worked with the environmental charity Hubbub to promote a recycling campaign to inspire students and staff to recycle better, starting in select areas of the UCL campus where we can make the most impact. The campaign aims to improve awareness of what can be recycled, the benefits of recycling and the role we all have to play to keep our waste in #TheLoop.

What can you do?
  • Before you throw something away on campus, examine the signage on the recycling bins to ensure you are throwing your waste away correctly, as it is easy to contaminate a bag of recycling with one item.
  • If you want to take things further, check out our Reuse guide, created exclusively for the UCL community.
  • The next time you’re strolling down Malet Place and your stomach rumbles to lure you into ‘Folds Pizza’, make sure to use our dedicated pizza bins to dispose your oil-stained boxes into. By using these stylish bins, you are playing your part in making sure UCL’s recycling waste isn’t contaminated.

For more on UCL's climate research and action check out the UCL Generation One Campaign